I'm making a Drupal 7 site that has an event content type. There are two user roles: venues and speakers, and both can create events. I need a way for both to be referenced in the node (with auto-complete), but keeping in mind that they won't necessarily have an account on my site.

Example 1: The venue "Big Conference Center" creates a new event called "Cool Conference 2012". Their speaker is John Doe, so they enter his name in a text box, it finds him using user role Speaker auto-complete, and he is referenced. If you go to John's user page now, it lists Cool Conference 2012 as an event he is speaking at.

Example 2: The same venue creates another event. This time the speaker is Jane Anon, who doesn't have an account on the site. The auto-complete returned nothing, so Jane Anon is stored in plain text in that field. When Jane Anon joins the site two weeks later, she is presented with a list of events that match her name, and she can select which ones are hers. Then, the plain text changes to a reference.

Examples 1 and 2 should work the same if it's the speaker who is creating the events and the venue who is referenced.

  • Possibly some setup involving a taxonomy vocabulary of users and referencing through that? I've played around with that idea before, but it strikes me as horribly inefficient and I never actually succeeded.
    – BenjaminRH
    Sep 24, 2012 at 15:47
  • Custom module defining a field type?
    – Gaelan
    Sep 25, 2012 at 4:10

1 Answer 1


Lets say there is a module in drupal which just does what you are asking for, how would you like it? :P

I found this module recently. TextNodeReference

What this module does is

  1. It creates a new widget for the references. Once the widget is enabled,
  2. If the referencing node exists then it will store a reference to that node in the table.
  3. If the node doesn't exist already on the system, then it will store it as text. But when the node with the same title is created, it will auto-reference it to the node.

Caveat : When that node doesn't exist, make sure that you are entering that right title(for the author or venue), and then use the same title when creating the actual node for that entry(author or venue).

You can thank me later, but do thank Boobaa who wrote this module.

  • 1
    That's exactly what I was looking for. Exactly! Thank you very much.
    – BenjaminRH
    Sep 28, 2012 at 10:22

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